It’s strange because the emergence of this month out of the bright and blinding summers used to trigger an almost uncontrollable joy inside me when I was a kid. While other children were sluggishly shuffling their feet with heightened hesitation toward the school year, I was running excitedly into September. And even though some of that excitement was admittedly caused by an affinity for purchasing school supplies that still creeps up on me today, I was mostly awaiting my birthday. I mean, if I could have worn my party dress and tiara for the entirety of September, I would have.
Now, I experience those happy emotions in fleeting doses that somehow get tangled up in an ever-present anxiety about what another year means. As each birthday comes and goes, there’s an increased expectancy to actually, you know, get shit together.
Shit, being my life. It’s hard to say what 26 should look like. As my Facebook newsfeed would dictate, 26 should probably mean marriage or about-to-be marriage, and babies, yes there must be babies, some sort of new home you’re renovating, oh, and a promotion or some kind of “grown-up” job opportunity.
And I’m assuming 26 shouldn’t look a whole lot like someone crying in the bathroom on her break at work. Which I just did this past Tuesday.
It scares me a little to go into 26 with so much shit still left on my to-do list. Don’t get me wrong, I often find the fact that I’m somewhat of an anomaly among my peers sort of liberating,but there’s still that overwhelming feeling of self-disappointment as each year goes by and I’ve allowed insecurities to stifle attempts at what I want.
I want to be published.
I want to live on my own.
I want to travel alone--just once. Preferably to Paris.
I want to do something professionally that matters to me.
I want to be in love with someone who truly loves me back.
I want to believe someone could truly love me back.
I want to read outside more often.
I want to not over think every situation.
I want to find Astral Weeks & Otis Blue & At Last! on vinyl.
I want to go to more movies alone.
I want to create more.
I want to buy a ukulele and learn to play it.
I want to go to a poetry reading and find myself behind the mic.
I want to dance more and sit it out less.
I want to take classes on things I enjoy.
I want to do the dolphin inversion in yoga.
I want to not shy away from out-of-state job opportunities.
I want to stop apologizing for my awkwardness.
And most importantly, I want to make a decision on whether or not I should cut my bangs.
Since it’s never attractive to whine and pout without trying to change anything, I’m going to make it a goal to cross five things off this list before I meet 26. I’m considering it a birthday gift to myself.
So, September, I’ll admit it--you still make me want to put on my party dress and tiara in anticipation of the 29th. And while I can’t promise I won’t be just as cynical or that my quiet comments won’t be dripping with the same amount of sarcasm and disdain as always, I can promise to try dancing a little more.
Let's start today, with this song.